Arsenal vs. Manchester City: Score, Grades and Reaction

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Arsenal vs. Manchester City: Score, Grades and Reaction
Sang Tan/Associated Press

Arsenal 3-0 Manchester City

Substitute Olivier Giroud scored a sublime 25-yard drive to seal the Community Shield for Arsenal in a 3-0 win over Manchester City at Wembley.

The FA Cup winners were a cut above the Premier League champions in the traditional curtain-raiser to the new season.

Santi Cazorla opened the scoring for the Gunners in the 21st minute of the game after good play by Yaya Sanogo.

Aaron Ramsey proved his form last season was no flash in the pan, capping off his impressive first-half display with a fine strike in the 42nd minute.

Sang Tan/Associated Press

But the best of the lot was saved for the hour mark, when Giroud, who had replaced Sanogo at half-time, sent a long-range drive dipping over City goalkeeper Willy Caballero. 

Manuel Pellegrini sprang a surprise by naming Caballero in his starting line-up in place of Joe Hart, while Stevan Jovetic started up front.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gave debuts to Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers.

The former Southampton defender was involved in helping to deny Samir Nasri in the 13th minute when he and Debuchy closed down the City midfielder to block an early close-range effort.

Gael Clichy was then needed to perform the same interception at the other end of the field as Kieran Gibbs threatened inside the City area.

The Gunners dominated the early stages, but there were signs that City were finding their feet at Wembley.

However, in the 21st minute, Arsenal's patience paid off through Cazorla. Yaya Sanogo took the ball on the edge of the box before finding the Spaniard, who fended off the challenge of Clichy before firing past Caballero.

Cazorla then fed Sanogo in the 24th minute, but the young striker dragged his shot wide of goal.

There was a small piece of football history in the 39th minute when referee Michael Oliver used vanishing spray in English football for the first time to indicate the position of an Arsenal free-kick. Its introduction brought cheers from the crowd.

With three minutes of the half remaining, the Gunners doubled their lead. Alexis scampered down the right flank before finding Sanogo, who played the ball into the channel for Ramsey, who created space to place the ball past Caballero.

Caballero needed to be quick off his line to deny Alexis in the 45th minute after a great ball from Sanogo had put the Chilean clear.

Arsenal made a host of changes ahead of the second period, while David Silva entered the fray for City in place of Nasri.

Five minutes after the break, the first yellow card of the season was shown to Fernando for a foul on Jack Wilshere.

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had been so underused in the first period that he almost allowed a Jovetic header past him. But the forward's header from a Jesus Navas cross struck the post and bounced away.

The Poland international then produced a superb stop to deny the Montenegro international moments later, diving low to his right to block Jovetic's effort.

This was an improved City display at the start of the second period, though. And Yaya Toure, who had looked lethargic in the first 45 minutes, was starting to find his feet. 

Seconds later, however, the changes looked to be academic as Giroud produced a superb third for the Gunners with a dipping strike from 25 yards.

Midway through the second half, Wenger brought on the more defensive-minded Mathieu Flamini for Wilshere.

Fernando tried his luck from distance after a Chambers clearance fell to him, but the effort failed to trouble Szczesny.

Arsenal striker Joel Campbell, who played for Costa Rica at the World Cup, was invited to make his mark after replacing Ramsey in the 83rd minute, while forgotten City man Scott Sinclair came on for Pellegrini's team.

And the former Swansea man almost saw his corner set up Dedryck Boyata, whose header drifted just wide.

But the game had petered out before the final whistle with tiredness creeping in and City resigned to missing out on the first trophy of the season.

 

Selected Player Ratings

Aaron Ramsey: A

Started where he left off in the FA Cup final with another goal at the national stadium. Always looking for the ball in midfield and was a constant threat.

 

Alexis Sanchez: A-

Solid debut for the new Arsenal signing. Looked impressive down the right flank and was only denied a first-half goal by the quick thinking of Caballero.

 

Yaya Toure: C

Manchester City supporters will have been disappointed with their talismanic midfielder's display, especially in the first half. He gave a much-improved effort after the interval before his substitution on the hour mark.

 

Willy Caballero: B

Little chance of saving the first two goals, though he could have been better positioned for Ramsey's strike. It looks as though he will provide strong competition for Hart this season.

 

Post-Match Reaction

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